Friday, January 11, 2008

Bishop O.T. Jones Jr.

This past Saturday marked the passing into glory of one of God’s servants, the honorable Bishop O.T. Jones Jr. who served as pastor of the Holy Temple Church of God in Christ and presided over the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania jurisdiction of COGIC for many, many years. Due to declining health Bishop Jones had not actively served his church since the late 90’s. Though I’ve never been an active member of COGIC I have many family members who are and have attended many worship services at Holy Temple through the years. I greatly admired Bishop Jones for his humble demeanor and genuine love for those he pastored. He never came off to me as one who was caught up in being a bishop and though he was treated with great respect, love and care by those he served he never seemed to view them as pawns to be used to move onto bigger and better things.

One of the things I appreciated about Bishop Jones was the way he took time to speak with everyone who wanted to talk with him following a service or event at Holy Temple. I admired the way he spoke to those he served during the Commonwealth’s convocations when he exhorted God’s people to press toward holiness and witness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I remember Bishop Jones when reflecting on God’s call for me to view and treat those I serve with gentleness, love, humility and respect. I deeply respect that Bishop Jones didn’t seem to need an opulent lifestyle to validate his status and that he lived in the community where he served. I’m especially grateful for how gracious and encouraging he was to me a young minister who was not apart of his church. It seemed that whenever I attended a service my mother, and aunt or cousin would take me to the front and once more introduce me to Bishop Jones. He was patient, kind, always smiled and never failed to encourage me to persevere in God’s calling.

My guess is that many within the wider evangelical church never even heard of Bishop Jones and as far as I know he wrote no books and didn’t have much interaction with mainstream evangelicals. Was Bishop Jones as Calvinist? No he was not. But he was what I hope to become. A man of God who loved his Lord, loved his people and served them faithfully until death.

The Lord’s Peace
Pastor Lance


Anonymous said...

Amen to that! For not being an active member of The COGIC,Pastor Lance has painted an accrate portrait of the man I grew to love and refered to simply as "Bishop". He will certainly be missed!

Mt. Carmel COGIC
West Chester,PA

Anonymous said...

I am a member of Holy Temple COGIC now under the leadership of Eldr. Robert Hargrove..and I just want to say that I love Bishop Jones dearly..the minister stated in the article Bishop was always a kind and humble man..he will be greatly missed...
Holy Temple COGIC
Philadelphia, PA

ThinkingAhead said...

Ozro T. Jones influenced my life profoundly. I am a California pastor who had the privilege of hosting the Rev. Dr. Jones for 3 separate events. His heart and intellect left an impression upon our congregation that helped shape what we've become.

I continued to phone him for several years after the onset of Alzheimer's and even though conversations became increasingly complicated they were never awkward because the spirit of this great man whose kindness is legendary, always shone through.

Anonymous said...

Rev. Lewis, I thank you for this post. As one who also has family in COGIC and who shares the same theological concerns with certain practices within the denomination, I am nevertheless grateful that God has given us a model of ministerial faithfulness. Thank you for bringing him to the light for those of us who probably would have never heard of him on this side of glory.

FellowElder said...

Amen! I didn't know Bishop Jones, but I pray that we all would grow in such Christ-like humility and love. Deeply grateful to God for this fellow shepherd's legacy.

jsmith1960 said...

I met Bishop Jones when I was 15 years old during a Workers Meeting in Reading, PA. By then, I had listened repeatedly to an old album of his preaching "Can't Land, It's Too Foggy." To many young people, and very soon after this occasion, for me also,-- he was an iconic figure of 'rock star" proportion.

He taught the vitality of a consecrated life. While many feel he would have made a great leader of the Church of God in Christ, it was not to be. But, few will assume leadership with as long an echoing memory as that of the Bishop O. T. Jones, Jr.

Twelve years after meeting him, he would install me as a pastor under his episcopal charge. I would serve for 20 years because of the counsel he gave pastors like myself--to live with integrity and authenticity.

I witnessed his homegoing service at Mt. Airy with grief and a sadness that we had witnessed a life that would not be easily duplicable; but more strangely enough, a life not many would be willing to yield the same sacrifice to the Glory of God.

Good night sweet prince. And may flights of angels see you to your rest!

J Smith
Sr. Executive Administrator to the Presiding Bishop - COGIC